Nolvadex is used in the treatment of breast cancers. The main ingredient of this medicine is tamoxifen citrate. It is an anti-oestrogen drug. This drug is manufactured by various companies around the world.
Mechanism of action
The breast cancer cells are sensitive to the oestrogen hormone and they grow in the presence of oestrogen. A higher level of the oestrogen hormone causes greater increase in the tumour cells in the female breast. The tumour cells have oestrogen receptors on them and as a result the oestrogen hormone binds to these receptors and the tumour cells will grow much faster. Such tumours are referred to as oestrogen receptor positive cancers.
This medicine will work by blocking the action of oestrogen on the oestrogen receptors of these cells and as a result the cancer cells will starve for the oestrogen for growth and in absence of this hormone the cells will grow very slowly. This medicine will retard the growth of cancer cells will stop
The drug is also effective against cancers occurring in different parts of body and which are sensitive to the presence of oestrogen. This drug will also prevent malignancy of the breast cancer cells.
Tamoxifen citrate is also used in cases of female infertility problems related to ovulation. The drug will enhance the action of FSH and LH by blocking the estrogen receptors on hypothalamus. The two hormones are responsible to release the egg from the ovaries.
Tamoxifen citrate is indicated in cases of breast cancers which respond in the presence of oestrogen and in cases of infertility in women with ovulation problems.
This medicine may cause changes individual activity, dizziness and headache. Therefore, one must avoid driving and operating on heavy machines after taking this drug. This medicine is contraindicated in cases of pregnant women.
When taking a treatment for breast cancers with tamoxifen citrate, there is a chance that endometrial cancer may develop. This risk outweighs the property of this drug to stop all treat the breast cancer cases. It is important to report to your physician in case you suffer from vaginas bleeding, discharge from vagina, pain in pelvis and continuous pelvic discomfort.
There are chances that patients taking this medicine may suffer from formation of blood clots. If an abnormal swelling is seen in legs or stabbing pain in legs, chest along with sudden breathlessness contact your Doctor immediately. If you are planningto undergo surgery, this drug must be stopped to prevent the formation of blood clots.
In which cases this medicine is contraindicated?
This drug is contraindicated in pregnant women and nursing mothers. This drug is also contraindicated in cases of history of formation of abnormal blood clots or in patients already taking treatment of blood clot.
Indications in pregnancy and breastfeeding
Tamoxifen citrate cannot be used in cases of pregnant women and mothers nursing their newborn babies.
What are the possible side effects?
The very common side effects of this medicine include hot flashes, vagina bleeding and pruritus vulva. There can be common side effects like vomiting, nausea, retention of fluid, dizziness, headache, visual disturbances and hair loss. Uncommon side effects include highly calcium levels and vomiting. The rare side effect includes hepatitis, uterine fibroids, anaemia and endometrial cancer. Some very rare side effects may occur which includes pancreatitis and skin allergy and inflamed lungs.
This medicine should not be combined with other medicines which contain oestrogen. Your Doctor may prescribe you warfarin or anticoagulant medicines for prevention of blood clots. The blood clotting effects of warfarin may increase while taking it with tamoxifen citrate. Tamoxifen citrate becomes less effective when combined with drugs like quinidine, rifampicin and paroxetine.